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How much stuff do we really need? - Page 2

post #21 of 42
I love this thread! I am always in the process of de-cluttering (either as I come across things or as a big project). I, too, suffer from the what-if-we-need-it-later thinking. What has helped me a great deal with this is belonging to both freecycle and craigslist, where I seem to be able to find just about anything I need or want, sometimes for free, and almost always used (which is good for my ecological soul).

The other big thing that has helped me is my ongoing search for a spirituality that I can feel comfortable with. A point of view I really like is that I live in a world of abundance and community and friendship. If I really need something, I am sure it will be provided to me somehow (or I'll find a creative solution like the person did with the sheets). This frees me to release the things so they can be used by someone who can use them NOW.

By the way, this is my first post, thanks for letting my join in. This is a great community!
post #22 of 42

Less is more!

This is my first post--I just registered. What is a DH?

My husband and I are expecting our first child in October and having been on the move since July 2003 (grad school, new job, etc.) we have been decluttering since. And it feels great! Now with the addition to the family unit coming up we have decided to approach parenting with the "less is more" approach. We get the heebie-jeebies when we go to friends and family's houses with kids and see all the STUFF! How much of it is really that necessary??

We want to do as much attachment parenting as possible--including co-sleeping. But realize we have to be open and flexible to what our baby may determine their needs as...

So, with that in mind, if you had to pick just two items that you couldn't do without once the baby came, what would they be?
post #23 of 42
Welcome Ladies!
DH- Dear husband or darling husband
dd dear daughter
ds dear son
mil mother in law
bf breast feed
LOL laughing out loud
AP attachment parenting
you get the idea...
Also check out questions sections to get you more up to speed.

Since you want to go the most natural way of parenting- ap I would look into nursing bras. Buy the most you can afford. My personal favorite from my nursing years so far- Bravado bras.
http://www.nestmom.com/
Also motherwear for great nursing tops.
www.motherwear.com

I could not have nursed dd for 31 mos without them. I would also check into a great sling/carrier that you can wear. There is never a fussy baby that is attached!
post #24 of 42
Welcome, jypsynic and lillyfish!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jypsynic
So, with that in mind, if you had to pick just two items that you couldn't do without once the baby came, what would they be?

I agree with Amy1st. So little is actually needed.
post #25 of 42
Or, better yet - go braless and wear tank shirts/undershirts for layers!

One majorly crucial cannot-live-without item to suggest is a sling. Or maybe slings, because I used them so much with my babies that I needed extras for when one was wet/in the laundry/ etc. Plus I wore them out and had to replace them several times before we were done needing them!

I applaud your attempt to keep things minimal BEFORE becoming a mama. Most folks have to learn the hard way. .
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jypsynic
So, with that in mind, if you had to pick just two items that you couldn't do without once the baby came, what would they be?
1. Cloth diapers
2. TOWELS! Babies are wicked messy.
post #27 of 42
Ooh, i just stumbled on this thread, and I HAD to share our story!

2 1/2 years ago, we had a major financial crisis. The bottom fell out of the industry DH was working in, shortly after I was forced to quit doing child care in our home because our youngest was so extremely HN and sick much of the time. DH left his job (he was on 100% commission, so he was bring home MAYBE $200 a month for 40 hours/week of work) to go back to school, so we had Medicaid, food stamps, and a little student financial aid, but no other income.

So to survive, we sold everything non-essential in our house on eBay. We decided on a few "luxury" things ahead of time that we wouldn't touch - DH's bike, my computer, my treadmill, and the TV in the living room. Otherwise, everything was fair game since we decided that our first priority was staying in our home (we love it here, plus we didn't want our kids to have to go through the trauma of a move, with a change of schools, etc.).

It took us about a year to sell everything except a few albums of DH's that I still need to sell, but aside from the thousands of dollars we made (we had WAY too much stuff!), I am so happy with my bare-bones essential household now! Truly, in all that selling, there was only one thing that I regret getting rid of (a jacket of DH's that I'd like to have for myself).

I love living simpler. We don't miss the stuff, and we love all space we have. We literally have half-empty cabinets and closets all over the house, and it's great. Makes putting stuff away so much easier! We were able to get rid of (I'm not kidding!) FOUR dressers that had been jammed full of stuff. The drawers in the dressers we kept are easy to open and close because they are never over-full.

Now if I could just get DH to give up his Grateful Dead t-shirt obsession. :LOL Not gonna happen.

I had been thinking for several years that this house was just too small for 6 people (we have about 1850 sq. feet), and now I know that we could easily have 2 more children if we wanted to (we don't!). We had a friend and her baby stay here for several months following her break-up with her baby's dad and it was no problem. I loved being able to do that for her, and we couldn't possibly have done it pre-purge.
post #28 of 42
Thank you Amys1st, Sarasprings, May May, Icksause for the warm welcome and the tid-bits for limited stuff parenting. I have already ordered my Bravada bras, cloth diapers, and a sling....
I am also reading a great book: You are Your Child's First Teacher which seems to parallel the idea that less is more.
Great to meet you all!
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May

I applaud your attempt to keep things minimal BEFORE becoming a mama. Most folks have to learn the hard way. .
Amen to that- we were those folks :
post #30 of 42
We are working on decluttering -- one room at a time. I notice I need to do it in several steps. I seem to get rid of more stuff each time. I have a rule. For every item I keep, I have to throw something away. DH likes minimalism -- I like stuff. It's weird how 'stuff' makes me feel comfortable. I guess I take after my dad. But I'm learning the benefits of not having much. I don't like to clean and clutter makes cleaning much harder. Besides I also notice how we seem to live just find on vacation with a minimal amount.

Two items we couldn't live without for baby? Bouncy seat (she had reflux) and the monitor. We still use the monitor and DD is 3.
post #31 of 42
Interesting thread

In preparation for child #4 I have been going through all our stuff and getting rid of SO much.
We only have about 1000 sq 'living' area (+ cold basement) and after all the decluttering, it has become all spacy and big :LOL
post #32 of 42
This is a great thread!

We're renovating the entire house and I'm in the process of packing everything into boxes and moving it into the garage. I've been doing some major de-cluttering. So far I have gotten rid of 25, yes 25, bags of stuff (garbage, recycling and donations)! I can't believe I was storing that much garbage in my house. Now I'm getting ready to pack up the kitchen and I'm having a hard time deciding what I should keep and what to get rid of. Good news is, when we're done the kitchen I'll have twice as much cupboard space, maybe more! I can't wait!
post #33 of 42
I love this thread! I am obsessed with downsizing right now...and have made some baby steps, but it takes so long to get it all taken care of!! I'm so impatient. I can read and read books about simplicity and decluttering...but when it comes to actually doing it, it takes a bit to get me motivated! We've been trying to take one room at a time, but that basement is sure daunting! It feels sooooo good to finally start purging though.

I've been reading Material World and Women of the Material World by Peter Menzel. It's such a wake up call to truly see what other families in the world live with. I feel so pathetic when I think about all of my WANTS...and all they want is to live until tomorrow. Makes me want to sell everything! Like the PP said, it really starts to become a spiritual thing. Our belongings certainly define us sometimes. As a Christian, I want to be a good steward of all that God has given me, and when I have a lot of excess, how can I take good care of it all?!

I think that I've finally reached the point where I can honestly evaluate my belongings and make decisions to get rid of them. I've come a long way in the last year or so. I want to stop the accumulation!

Have you gone to the length of getting rid of all excess towels, bedding, tablewares, etc.? Those are the things I can always talk myself into keeping just in case we have a BUNCH of company. How many tablesettings do you keep? Are there other things that you simply will not get rid of? My books are sacred!
post #34 of 42
thanks for this thread, which is inspiring me again to keep getting rid of stuff (and resist acquiring more junk that we don't need). lately, we've been doing a "garage sale in slow-motion" over craigslist. basically we just list one or a few items at a time so that I don't keep putting this off until i have a critical mass. what has been neat is that we've met some really interesting people in the process, even starting some friendships we intend to pursue further. it demonstrated in a very immediate way that letting go of things we don't need has brought us closer to what we value, which is meaningful connections with other people.

when i have more time, I do have some larger projects to tackle, such as paring down our books and clothes. in the meanwhile, another extremely helpful exercise was figuring out the reason I tend to accumulate certain things. in the case of clothes, I had lots of clothes but never anything to wear--making it harder to give things away and easier to think I should get more clothes. the real culprit was rumpled clothing. since i hate ironing, the wrinkled laundry would pile up and I mean PILE UP, taking over a few laundry baskets and random corners of the apt (I could just take things out of the dryer immediately, but things don't seem to function that way in our home . recently getting a small garment steamer has been a minor godsend, as now I am starting to make a dent in the ironing pile. since this also included some clothes that i would eventually like to sell on ebay, i count my steamer among the worthwhile things to have since it's helping me declutter my other possessions. but if you go this route, by all means, get one of the kinds with lots of attachments that can double as a steam cleaner and a fabric steamer so that you don't build up gadget-clutter! we got the steamfast hot and handy for about $40, and it's apparently being phased out by the manufacturer (though easy to find on ebay). my guess is that they are trying to market other models that are more narrowly designed--either for cleaning around the house or for garments--which of course means moving more goods and making more money for them. figuring this out was quite gratifying, but a wee victory for minimalism against the massive tidal wave of consumerism!!
post #35 of 42
Wow, late-night nan, you do some deep thinking late at night! :LOL Me too. Takes one to know one. . .






Quote:
Originally Posted by late-night nan
. . . . even starting some friendships we intend to pursue further. it demonstrated in a very immediate way that letting go of things we don't need has brought us closer to what we value, which is meaningful connections with other people.
Well said. Amen to that.

You know you have clutter when you're tending more to organization than to nurturing friendships!



Quote:
Originally Posted by late-night nan
. . . . my guess is that they are trying to market other models that are more narrowly designed--either for cleaning around the house or for garments--which of course means moving more goods and making more money for them. figuring this out was quite gratifying, but a wee victory for minimalism against the massive tidal wave of consumerism!!

They're quite clever, aren't they? But we're onto 'em! I can always appreciate a thoughtful mind at work. Thank you.



~
At this point in my life
I'd like to live as if only love mattered. . . .


- Tracy Chapman
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight
I've been reading Material World and Women of the Material World by Peter Menzel. It's such a wake up call to truly see what other families in the world live with. I feel so pathetic when I think about all of my WANTS...and all they want is to live until tomorrow. Makes me want to sell everything! Like the PP said, it really starts to become a spiritual thing. Our belongings certainly define us sometimes. As a Christian, I want to be a good steward of all that God has given me, and when I have a lot of excess, how can I take good care of it all?!
Reading Material World was a defining experience for me. That's an awesome book and I think every family should own a copy! I didn't know that Women of the Material World existed; I'm going to get a copy of that, too, if I can find a used one on the cheap. I'd been pretty interested in simple living before I read that, but the book really drove home for me how very (a) blessed, and (b) greedy we are in the western world. And I had the same spiritual response to it that you did; if I'm a child of my creator with work to do here on earth, how can I expect to fulfill that if I'm spending my time taking care of stuff? And how can I live with myself if I own a mountain of clutter when 40,000 people die every single day of poverty related causes?

So I guess it just really reminded me that my time here is not meant to be spent on acquiring and taking care of "stuff." My time here is meant to be spent caring for people. Since our big purge, I've had more time to enjoy my kids, and more time to do the volunteer and activism work that is important for me.

As for being overwhelmed, I had a terrible time with that feeling when we started. DH and I married after we both already had children and fully furnished homes. DH is a packrat, so that definitely added to the clutter. When we had DS, I closed the little in-home preschool I'd been running, so we had loads of stuff from that. Our den was cramped and crowded, and we had one bedroom that was full, literally corner to corner and floor to ceiling. I had to work really hard to break the job down into bite-size chunks. First I eBay'ed the biggest stuff to give myself a little room to move. Then I'd give myself little goals, like I wanted to eBay 10 things in a given week, or clean out this one box, or whatever. If I spent too much time concentrating on our ultimate goal (a house that held only the essentials of daily living and a few luxuries), I was doomed. The whole process took over a year, but it was well worth it.

I don't think the de-cluttering process ever really ends for us here in the west. We always have to evaluate and re-evaluate because there is just SO MUCH stuff available. A de-cluttering book by Don Aslett really helped me.

Oh, and (sorry to go on so long here), a major benefit of clearing out all our excess is that it has saved us SO MUCH money! We rarely lose anything, so we're not out buying replacements. I can buy in bulk when I find a good deal because I have room to store something like a case of toilet paper or canned beans. Things (esp. toys) get ruined far less frequently because they're easier to put away.

Ummm...does my enthusiasm show at all? I guess I just wanted to encourage the people who are at the beginning of this process, because it is very, very worth the effort. I wouldn't trade all that work for anything. It has dramatically improved the quality of life at my house.
post #37 of 42
Quote:
Reading Material World was a defining experience for me. That's an awesome book and I think every family should own a copy! I didn't know that Women of the Material World existed; I'm going to get a copy of that, too, if I can find a used one on the cheap.
He has another book coming out in November I think...called Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. Can't wait to read that one!

I pour over these books every chance I get lately...I will be sad when I have to take them back to the library! It brings life back into perspective.
post #38 of 42
I jsut finishe dmaterial world as well...very enlightening.

FWIW, with my second child, I did a little experiment ot see how little I could get by on....I found the only things I"needed" were

Sling
car seat (although if I lived in an area with public transportation I could have gotten by without this even)
cloth diapers
clothes

I didn't even "need" a diaper bag. Alot of times I would just shove a dipe in some area of the sling
post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
Wow, late-night nan, you do some deep thinking late at night! :LOL Me too. Takes one to know one. . .
Glad to meet a fellow late-night traveller, May May~ of course I'm checking this thread at about the same hour that you were up yesterday, deep in thought... :LOL
post #40 of 42



Right here, mama!
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